After a recent article that my firm has published on our blog, we have gotten quite a bit of attention on best practices and changing the face of law firm identities online. So we’ve decided to share some of our best practices that we’ve learned through our 15 years in business.
It can sometimes be said that the greater the legal eloquence, the more convoluted, wordy and confusing the law firm website. But that does not have to be the case. There are some brilliantly clear, compelling and user-friendly sites out there for those law practices that understand the dos and don’ts of creating a powerful and professional online presence.
Pixelcarve had the pleasure of producing a new high-performance website for the firm Fogler, Rubinoff LLP that is now serving the practice very well. In fact, partner Michael Slan was so delighted with the results of the new foglers.com that he distilled some key best practices that went into its creation to assist other law firms looking to achieve the same great web outcomes. His presentation was recently recapped in Zen and the Art of Legal Networking – and here are some highlights:
Mr. Slan began by outlining several of the challenges they had with their pre-existing website, which included overall complexity, inefficient layout, text heavy pages, visually dull, and a design that looked too much like everyone else.
He took note that when Fogler, Rubinoff engaged us to rebuild their website we had as many questions for them as they did for us. This is an important part of the process and determines a good vendor/client fit that will ensure the values, timeline and budget of a project are adhered to. Once both parties were comfortable with each other Foglers took some steps within their firm as part of the process:
- Establish website committee: They established a committee led by a senior associate (now a partner) and a young partner, who were designated as the sole points of contact.
- Appoint one Executive to committee: While they recognized that they wanted to keep most of the executive committee off of the website committee, they did appoint one Executive member, whose role was to champion the project at the executive level and keep the “stirrers of the pot” at bay.
- Review redesign: Foglers was also going through a rebranding process, which is the ideally done prior to the launch of a new website.
- Establish schedule: They worked with us to decide on a deliverables schedule and timeline, to coincide with the firm’s move to new offices.
- Launch meetings/discussions: A kick-off launch meeting with all of the key stakeholders from both sides of the table ensure that all requirements and needs are considered right from the get-go.
Keeping the process highly organized and run by a minimal number of decision makers on both sides allowed for a highly complex, innovative and unique website to be produced in a relatively short period of time.
As with much of our work, we believe that distilling a company to its essentials and presenting a clean interface is the key to success. That premise became the very essence of the new Foglers website – built and designed with a modern user interface to resemble that of a tablet, the gesture based navigation is augmented by an uncluttered homepage with real-time search. As a user types in the information they are looking for, name, practice area, etc – only the things that are relevant pop up. This makes it easier for people to navigate, and improves the client experience. Far too often websites, especially home pages, become a dumping ground for words. Content is certainly important, but it’s more important to have less content that users will actually find and read, than more that they won’t.
In addition, the website also automatically scales proportionately to fit all types of computers and tablets, and is adaptive to mobile devices, thus maintaining the brand and design integrity of the site.
The Fogler, Rubinoff LLP website is a great example of website best practices working effectively. In many ways it’s become the antithesis of a typical law firm website, while setting a new bar for how professional firms can engage with their clients. It was a great pleasure to work with the team at Foglers on this project, and we wish them much success with it in the future.